While billboards are often associated with urban blight, some artists use them as canvases for large-scale projects.
Today (Dec. 2), southbound drivers on the I-15 (at the 91 Freeway intersection) near Corona, Calif., will encounter the digital billboard works by 95 artists and collectives, including Window from recent CalArts’ graduate Susanna Battin (Theater BFA 10).
The photographic landscape installation mirrors the landscape and skyline of what the billboard obstructs from drivers, visually restoring the view of the Santa Ana Mountains.
“This project is my gut reaction to advertising. I wanted to obliterate that which obliterates—to create a window into the landscape by subverting commercial space,” says Battin in an email. “The San Bernardino billboard is a perfect site—the billboard interrupts an otherwise sweeping and continuous horizon line. Window is my way of restoring this line to a ‘natural’ state.”
Battin also considered topography and environmental factors when creating the piece, which displays the landscape in 13 different degrees of smog. “In Los Angeles, smog is a reality we live in and breathe in,” she says. Not surprisingly, we share our smog with our neighbors and places like San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, who have the worst air qualities in the nation because of it.”
The Billboard Art Project-San Bernardino, organized by David Morrison, is sponsoring the presentation of the group exhibition (which also includes works by fellow CalArtians Sage Lewis [Music MFA 08] and Katie Shapiro [Art BFA 07]). The Billboard Art Project is a nonprofit organization that acquires roadside digital LED billboards throughout the country to turn them into roadside galleries for 24 hours or more at a time.
The viewing times of the works on display vary. Battin’s remaining slots today are at approximately 10:06 am, 1:44 pm, 5:22 pm and 9 pm. Lewis is slated for 12:51 pm, 4:29 pm, 8:07 pm, 11:45 pm. Shapiro’s work will be on view at approximately 10:01 am, 1:39 pm, 5:17 pm and 8:55 pm. Follow the live event on Facebook.
Please drive safely when viewing any of these pieces: Window is best viewed in the second from the left lane while driving south on Interstate 15 after the 91 Freeway interchange and before the East Ontario Avenue exit.